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January 31, 2020 Friday 10:54:05 AM IST

The Daily Mile™ programme to help schools reduce childhood obesity

Policy Indications

A study by Birmingham City Council and carried out in collaboration with the Universities of Bristol and Birmingham, Services For Education and Sport Birmingham, with support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has evaluated the effectiveness of the widely used ‘Daily Mile’ intervention in schools to tackle childhood obesity has found that the benefits are small, and may be greater in girls than boys.

The study concluded that whilst interventions such as The Daily Mile are not going to reduce childhood obesity alone, they could be an important part of a wider population strategy to tackling this challenge. It was published in the International Journal of Obesity.

The Daily Mile was first launched by a school in Scotland in 2012 and sees children spending at least 15 minutes jogging or running, at their own pace, during the school day.

Forty state-funded Birmingham schools took part in the study, half of which were randomly chosen to implement The Daily Mile intervention, while the other half were randomly placed into a ‘control group’ and implemented only the school’s usual health and well-being activities. At the start of the trial in April 2017, all participating children were weighed and measured, and their body mass index calculated, as well as percentage body fat. The children’s health-related level of quality of life was also calculated using Quality-Adjusted-Life-Years (QALYs), a metric commonly used to judge cost-effectiveness.

After four months and then again at 12 months, the researchers returned to the schools to carry out the same measurements and calculations.  They found that overall The Daily Mile had more of an effect on the body mass index of children taking part after 12 months compared to those who did not, although the effect was small.